Russia's foreign ministry is downplaying speculation that the retired U.S. Marine arrested on espionage charges, Paul Whelan, might be used in a spy swap for Maria Butina, under arrest in the United States.
But meanwhile there's a new complication emerging: Russia has announced that the FBI has detained yet another Russian citizen.
They named him as Dmitry Makarenko and say he was arrested immediately after a flight he was on landed in the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth.
Other details are scarce, other than he was born in 1979, and that he arrived in the islands with his wife, young children, and his parents.
It's also said that he was flown to Florida after his arrest.
But court filings seen by Reuters show that in 2017 a man named Dmitry Makarenko was declared a fugitive after he was accused of conspiring to export defense equipment to Russia without U.S. approval -- such as night vision scopes.
An accomplice pled guilty and served over two years in prison, but Makarenko remained at large.
Maria Butina pled guilty to infiltrating American conservative groups last month.
Paul Whelan's family maintains he's innocent, that he was visiting Russia for a wedding.
Recent years have also seen dozens of suspected intelligence officers deported from both countries.